If the problem with winter storm names wasn't obvious when Nemo blanketed the East Coast last month, the latest storm with a name, this week's storm, which has been dubbed Saturn by the Weather Channel should drive the point home. With snow falling in parts of the Midwest and some precipitation and power outages likely in the Mid-Atlantic, winter storm namer dictator Weather.com has decided that this one deserves a name. And along with it, it warns readers to "Get Ready for Saturn's Wrath." OK, we're ready. The problem, however, is that unlike Nemo, this storm's power in certain areas of the U.S is unclear. "Wrath" and "winter" are questionable word choices for some areas. New York is expected to get at most a few inches of snow if not just rain, for example. So, instead of letting the idea of scary Saturn freak you out, we've put together a handy, concise guide to what this storm will entail.
Mid-Atlantic: D.C., Philadelphia
Freak Out Level: High, Legitimate Preparation Needed
For D.C, which hasn't seen more than 2 inches on the ground all season, this will likely be the biggest storm of the season. There is a winter storm watch for the district right now, and the National Weather Service predicts 6-8 inches; over the next two days, the local NBC weather affiliate predicts about 4 inches on the ground. Because of the rain snow mix and wind, The Washington Post says "power outages are possible" as well as flight delays. As you can see with its little storm cast legend to the right from The Post—which is going with the name Snowquester because of course—the nation's capital can expect a day of school closures, flight delays, and government closures. Expect to work from home government workers! (The more filled in bubbles, the worse.) The Weather Channel also predicts flight delays at all three DC metro airports.
The biggest threat with this storm, however, is downed trees, with the ABC local affiliate predicting power outages to the west of D.C., as you can see with this graphic from AccuWeather:
Philly will also see 4-6 inches of snow, and likely power outages as well.
New York Metro Area
Freakout Level: Medium-High, Mourn the Beaches
The National Weather Service has issued a "hazardous weather outlook" for New York City, but it doesn't sound like snow will be the big issue. NWS predicts between 1 to 2 inches for the city, along with some gross rain snow mix. Things will get terrible tomorrow night and Thursday morning, so commuting might be awful. Worst of all, however, the wind will continue to ravage the already ailing beaches, as the winds and flooding will cause "significant erosion."
Boston Metro Area
Freakout Level: Too Soon to Tell
The storm won't hit Boston until Thursday, so it's hard to tell the impacts that far out. "At this time, the rain/snow line is very difficult to predict. Expect rain, heavy at times, in southeastern Massachusetts," StormTeam 5 meteorologist JC Monahan said. But right now, AccuWeather is predicting 3-12 inches for Boston, as you can see in this graphic.
If the snow does fall, it sounds like it could cause power outages. "If the precipitation makes it into central Mass./southern New Hampshire, and that's uncertain at this time, it will be a heavy, wet snow," adds Monahan. It also sounds like the shores will see some erosion.
Midwest: Minneapolis, Chicago
Freakout Level: Meh, It's Too Late
Chicago and Minneapolis airports are closed. The people in Bloomington, Michigan are buried, as you can see:
It's a little wetter, but equally as unpleasant in Chicago:
Photos via The Associated Press